The miracle of St. Simeon and the presbyter
It is known that evil spirits try to destroy human souls not only by arousing, promoting and multiplying delusions, superstitions and all unrighteousness among them, but, as we see in demoniacs and other sufferers, they sometimes rage in human bodies and expose people to bodily diseases. Why does the Lord allow this to evil spirits? And why are they given power not only over spirit, but also over flesh? Know, brethren, that in this case, evil spirits are instruments of God’s wrath and God allows them to inflict sickness on people for their sins, so that, albeit through sorrow and bodily suffering, they regain consciousness, repent of their sins and correct their ways.
A certain presbyter was once sitting in the church narthex and reading the Holy Gospel. While reading, he suddenly felt as if some kind of dark and gloomy cloud surrounded him making the light dim in his eyes. His mind darkened. He felt debilitation in all his limbs and became numb.
He stayed in this terrible diseased condition for nine years and suffered so much that lying on his bed he could not turn from side to side without help. In the course of time, it happened that his relatives, hearing about the miracles performed by monk Simeon the Stylite, took the presbyter and carried him to the venerable. They almost reached the monastery where St Simeon lived and lay down to rest when the presbyter’s illness and his approach were revealed to the venerable, who was standing in prayer at that time.
The monk then summoned one of his disciples, gave him some holy water and said, “Take this water and hurry away from the monastery. You will see a sick presbyter being carried on his bed. Sprinkle him with this holy water and tell him that sinful Simeon says the following to him, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, get up, leave your bed and walk to Simeon on your own feet.”” The disciple went and did as the Reverend said to him. The elder immediately recovered, came to the saint and fell at his feet. Simeon said to him, “Get up and don’t be afraid. The devil may have inflicted on you a nine-year grief, but the love of God did not forget you and did not allow you to perish all through. Know that the devil was allowed to embitter you for the fact that you stood in the holy altar fearlessly and irreverently listening to the slanderers and depriving those slandered by them of Holy Communion without finding out the truth. By this you saddened God and greatly pleased the devil having fallen under his dark power. But now, seeing that God’s love for mankind and His bounties have multiplied on you, absolve those whom you’ve grieved by excommunication, and just as the Lord has done mercy to you, so you do with them.” After these words, the presbyter left the venerable with great joy and fulfilled everything commanded to him.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds